Monday, September 16, 2019

MARTIN TRUEX JR. LOCKS HIMSELF INTO ROUND OF 12 WITH LAS VEGAS WIN; KYLE BUSCH HAS LATE RACE SCUFFLE

There are 2,931.94 Miles 2 Miami!

The 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs got off to a racy start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. As the green flag dropped on Sunday afternoon for the South Point 400, the field raced like it was their last lap.

Three wide battles mid-pack and contact between teammates up front settled the lead. Daniel Suarez, who missed the playoffs, drove his No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang upfront ahead of his playoff teammate Clint Bowyer.

The Stewart-Haas Racing cars were the favorites early in the race, but Team Penske driver Joey Logano drove from the 22nd position to the lead in just 34 laps. Leading 105 laps overall, Logano placed ninth after a late-race incident with Suarez.

“We got shuffled out the back and then got to the outside of the 41 (Daniel Suarez) and didn’t know I was there and he crashed our car,’’ said Logano, whose No. 22 Ford suffered a lot of right-side damage after it was squeezed into the wall avoiding Suarez. “They fixed it as good as they could to recover with a top 10.”

Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang was another strong car all day. After taking the lead from Ryan Blaney on Lap 187, Harvick went on to lead 47 laps. Unfortunately, for the 2014 Cup Series champion, he didn’t have enough to hold off race winner Martin Truex Jr. in the last run.

“I knew the Gibbs cars would be tough,’’ Harvick said. “Martin was just so much better on the second half of the run. He made up that ground there, was able to stay close enough to us. My car started to get loose and push the front. It was just in kind of a four-wheel drift.”

Truex led 32 laps, won Stage 2, and clinched his spot in the Round of 12. He earned his fifth win of the season after qualifying in the 24th position.

“We took a gamble, qualified 24th,’’ said Truex, who led 32 laps. “For a while, it wasn’t looking too smart with the 4 (Harvick) out front. Got the right adjustments in the end. Had a great car all day long. Hell of a way to make a championship run. Get some good bonus points, move on to the next round, see what we can do there.’’

Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch got off to a tough start after contact with the wall early on. The damage would force him to pit, causing him to lose two laps and have to race from the back all afternoon.

Overcoming adversity and racing his way into the top-10 during the last stage, Busch went on to make contact with Garrett Smithley late in the race. The contact would cause front-end damage resulting in a 19th place finish.

Busch said in a postrace interview with Parker Kligerman on NBCSN “I thought he was going to go high. He went middle… Killed our day. I don’t know. Should have run fourth probably. Instead 19th. We’re at the top echelon of motorsports, and we’ve got guys who have never won Late Model races running on the racetrack. It’s pathetic. They don’t know where to go. What else do you do?”

Although Truex Jr won the race, Busch’s incident with Smithley became the talk post-race. Busch took his frustration from the TV to Twitter.

All in all, the playoff opener at Las Vegas did not disappoint. From multiple drivers running upfront to playoff contenders going up in smoke, to having transmission failures during the event, this is only the beginning.

Heading to the short track of Richmond Raceway, imagine what else we will have in store for the rest of this postseason.

The Monster Energy Series travels to Richmond Raceway for a Saturday night race on Sept. 21 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Here are the standings going into Richmond:



Friday, September 13, 2019

ROSS CHASTAIN MELON MAN TICKET PACKAGE AVAILABLE FOR FORD CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND



Florida native Ross Chastain is having another historic run in the 2019 season. Coming off what many say was his breakout year in 2018, Chastain has picked up where he left off fighting for the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series Championship.

As Chastain’s championship run continues, you can join Ross Chastain at Homestead-Miami Speedway this November by purchasing the Melon Man Ticket Package. Buy now -- Melon Man Package Tickets!

Homestead-Miami Speedway will be offering the Melon Man Ticket Package for $125. Fans who purchase this package will receive a 30-minute meet & greet with the Melon Man before the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race on Sunday, November 17, a Melon Man hat, and a front stretch east/west ticket to Sunday’s Cup Series Championship race.

Let’s look back at how Ross Chastain got here!

Last year, Chastain had the opportunity to race part-time for Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR). Chastain scored his first ever NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He went on to finish the season with three top-five finishes leading 272 laps.

Due to unfortunate circumstances, Chastain was left without a ride. However, JD Motorsports and Kaulig Racing gave him an opportunity to run on both their teams in the 2019 campaign. He ultimately went on to win his home track at Daytona International Speedway with Kaulig Racing.

It became Kaulig Racing’s first win in the Xfinity Series and Chastain’s first victory of the season.
“Oh my God – we did it. Daytona – I see you guys up there,” Chastain said on the front stretch while looking up at the grandstands. “I watched these races as a kid every July. These guys gave me a great race car. Oh my God, we won a race at Daytona! We did it!”

Chastain also became one of the busiest drivers in the sport. While running in the Truck Series playoffs, he also runs Xfinity and Cup Series races, often on the same weekend.

His historic run continues in the Truck Series as he hopes to make a championship run. Sitting comfortably second in points before the first elimination of the playoffs, Chastain feels confident ahead of Sin City.

“Las Vegas is a special track to me, so I’m definitely looking forward to getting back on track this week,” Chastain said. “We had a good truck here earlier this year, but I feel that we’ve come a long way with this Niece Motorsports program since then.”

We hope to see you smashing more melons in Victory Lane!

Monday, September 9, 2019

KEVIN HARVICK WINS BIG MACHINE VODKA 400 AT THE BRICKYARD; CLINT BOWYER AND RYAN NEWMAN TAKE FINAL TWO SPOTS OF PLAYOFF



The road for the championship to Miami is officially here! The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs fires up this weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Kevin Harvick captured the win in Sunday’s Big Machine Vodka Brickyard 400, kissing the bricks for the second time in his career. Seizing his third victory of the season, Harvick will commence the playoffs at Las Vegas in the fourth position with 2028 points.

Everyone was eyeing for seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. A former winner of the Brickyard 400, Johnson qualified fifth and was running in the top-15 for the majority of the race.

Unfortunately for the El Cajon, California native, Johnson was involved in an incident at the start of the final Stage that ended his day and chances to race for a championship in the postseason.
“Certainly disappointing,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, we had about 25 races that led to the position that we were in today. We needed a stellar day and I think we were having a strong day. Just really proud of my team and where we’re at and what’s been going on.”

A hot story heading into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the playoff bubble. Who will take the last two spots? After some feud between Daniel Suarez and Ryan Newman the weekend prior at Darlington Raceway, the question was whether any of it would translate to Indy.

The fight for the final spot in the playoffs was tight throughout the day and occasionally back and forth. On Lap 10, Suarez made contact with the wall coming off of a turn forcing him to pit on Lap 11 to assess the damage.

For Suarez fans, the incident was worrisome knowing that Indy is a high-downforce track and any damage to the body can hurt your momentum of speed. Fortunately, the No. 41 crew did a fine job fixing up Suarez’s Ford Mustang and he ultimately finished sixth by the end of Stage 2.

Suarez was satisfied with his car after the repairs and showed no signs of slowing down. In fact, he was racing ahead of Neman at the start of the final Stage, restarting in sixth while Newman launched in 11th.

As Newman ran in 13th before the caution came out on Lap 128, Suarez made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on Lap 127 for four tires and fuel after running in the fifth position. A caution came out on Lap 129 resulting Suarez to go a lap down.

Newman would go on and take advantage of the uncontrolled circumstances that hurt the No. 41 team and restart ahead of the Mexican-born driver. In the closing laps, the race for the final spot began to heat up.

Suarez was able to run up to 11th by the end of the race thanks to two cautions within the closing laps. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to catch Newman.

Newman brought home his No. 6 Acorns Ford Mustang in the eighth position, locking himself into the 2019 NASCAR Playoffs.

“I guess if you look at our roster there are more new people on our team together for the first time than all the other teams put together,” Newman said following the race. “I am proud that we were able to take that and use our collective experience of our own knowledge from places and things we have done and turn that into a playoff position. Now we just have to do something with it.”

As for Suarez, he failed to make the playoffs giving the last two spots to his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Clint Bowyer and Roush Fenway Racings Ryan Newman.

“I feel like after that the day went smooth, other than getting caught in the pit road cycle on the last stop,” Suarez commented on the early race incident. “That made us lose all our track position, and it was very difficult to overcome that. We fought hard. We made it all the way back to 11th, and I feel like if we had 15 more laps I was going to get the 6 (of Ryan Newman), but that is racing. It just wasn’t meant to be.”

The final race before the playoffs displayed another chaotic event at the historic Indianapolis track. Closing its doors on the final race prior to the playoffs, it’s safe to say that some fans were impressed with Sunday’s turn of events.

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the South Point 400 on Sunday, Sept. 15 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is the first race of the 10-race playoffs and starts at 7 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY TO HOST FERRARI CHALLENGE SEPTEMBER 7-8

Ferrari Challenge 2019 at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Come join us this weekend as the Ferrari Challenge comes to Homestead-Miami Speedway September 7-8. The Ferrari Challenge will stop in South Florida to take on the track’s 2.21-mile road course, showcasing many different makes and models of Ferraris.

Since its inception in 1993, the Ferrari Challenge has featured some of the most exclusive cars in the world, and the races are always hard-fought and packed with head-to-head duels, providing the driver with all the excitement of the track. This year, the Challenge has visited other notable North American tracks such as Sebring International Speedway, Circuit of the Americas and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“We are honored to be able to host the Ferrari Challenge here again in 2019,” said track president Al Garcia. “The Ferrari Challenge brings so many people in the Ferrari racing community together and we are excited to be the final race before the world finals at Mugrllo Circuit for the Finali Mondiali.”

Homestead-Miami Speedway is the final North American race before the Ferrari Challenge heads to Mugrllo Circuit for the Finali Mondiali – the world finals.

Cooper MacNeil (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari of Westlake) in the Trofeo Pirelli class did all he needed to do at Indianapolis with a pair of second-place finishes putting the Trofeo Pirelli championship almost entirely out of reach of Benjamin Hites (The Collection). Martin Burrowes (Ferrari of Ft. Lauderdale) has also solidified his third place position in the Trofeo Pirelli championship, with a 19 point lead over Marc Muzzo (Ferrari of Ontario) going into the final North American round at Homestead.

The Trofeo Pirelli AM class still has five drivers in contention for the top spot. Neil Gehan is leading the championship with 129 points while Ziad Ghandour is trailing him with 113 points. Ghandour missed the most recent round at Indianapolis but looks to make a run and close the gap at Homestead.

Mark Issa (Ferrari of Atlanta) has earned eight podiums from 10 chances to date and has built a 31 point lead over Brian Davis (Ferrari of Palm Beach) in the Coppa Shel class. This year is Davis’s first year in the Ferrari Challenge and has already captured four wins from four chances to open the year in the Coppa Shell AM category. After he was promoted to Coppa Shell for Laguna Seca, the American driver has steadily regained his footing and returned to the podium twice at Indianapolis, and earned the extra point for the fastest lap in race 2. 

In the Coppa Shell AM class, Brad Horstmann (Foreign Cars Italia) captured two consecutive wins at Indianapolis, earning his first-ever Ferrari Challenge win in race 1 and taking race 2. He is the first driver this season that has taken consecutive wins. Jay Screibman (Cauley Ferrari) and Gianni Grilli (Ferrari of Quebec) are separated by only four points for the second and third spots on the podium. Both drivers look to gain momentum at Homestead before a long trip to Mugello.

Tickets for the Ferrari Challenge are available now at www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com/FerrariChallenge or by calling (866) 409-RACE. Admission tickets are $20 for each day or $30 for a weekend pass.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

FINAL SPOT IN THE MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES PLAYOFFS IS SOMETHING TO WATCH FOR DURING THE BIG MACHINE VODKA BRICKYARD 400



After a rain-delayed start to the Bojangles’ Southern 500, the historic race kicked-off a little after 10:00 p.m. eastern-time on Sunday night. Erik Jones captured his second career victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, clinching his spot in the 2019 playoffs.

With the NASCAR Playoff bubble points being close going into 500-mile event, drivers like Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, and Daniel Suarez all had high hopes of finishing strong.

Unfortunately for Johnson, the driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro was involved in a multi-car accident on Lap 275. Finishing the race in the 16th position, Johnson sits 18 points outside of the playoffs and faces a must-win scenario heading into Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The eye-catching story of the Southern 500 was the events between Newman and Suarez. The Ford Performance rivals had an incident on Lap 140 causing Newman to spin off Turn 2 bringing out the fourth caution of the night.

Newman became highly irate after the incident, telling his team that Suarez has one coming for him. As for Suarez, he just saw it as hard racing and stated that he did not even touch the No. 6 Oscar Mayer / Velveeta Ford Mustang.

“That’s a racing thing,” Suarez said after the race. “I didn’t touch him. As a driver it’s very, very easy to know that the guy behind you is very, very close and to feel that air, but he’s experienced to know. Once he sees the race he’s going to realize that we didn’t touch. It was everything aero and just hard racing, that’s it.”

Whether Suarez touched Newman or not, the altercation became the post-race talk of the night as both drivers are trying to race themselves into the playoffs.

“I have to watch the replay,” Newman said after the race. “They said he hit me, but I don’t know. He had me jacked up sideways going into the corner, so do I owe him? Probably a little something.”

Suarez ultimately placed 11th while Newman brought home his Ford machine in the 23rd position. Suarez recorded his highest finishing position at the South Carolina oval and is looking forward to the Big Machine Vodka Brickyard 400 this upcoming weekend.

“We were confident in our car all weekend, but with the big weather changes and things like that, we had to work on it quite a bit during the race to keep up with the track,” Suarez said. “With the playoffs, I think we’re putting on a good show for all the fans, and now being tied heading to Indianapolis that makes things even more interesting, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

Newman heads back to the track where he won back in 2013. The Cup Series veteran has far more experience than Suarez but is seeking to overcome his eventful weekend at Darlington Raceway.

“We got spun and we came back, and we did not have a top 10 finish, so it’s unfortunate,” Newman said. “We lost some points today, but we’ve got a lot of fight in us and we’ll go into the last one here in the regular season and fight.”

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, Sept. 8 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Friday, August 30, 2019

DARLINGTON RACEWAY THROWBACK WEEKEND BRINGS CHILDHOOD MEMORIES FOR MATT TIFFT



For the past several years, Darlington Raceway has been celebrating their annual Southern 500 weekend by commemorating throwback paint schemes from the past. This year, Matt Tifft will be honoring two men who taught him pretty much everything he knows about racing today, his father Quinten Tifft and David Hilliker.

“You could say David Hilliker was my childhood dirt track hero,” Tifft said in a press release.

Hilliker used to drive for his father’s Dirt Late Model team when Tifft was growing up. A member of the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame, Hilliker was victorious over 125 times on dirt and asphalt.

“I’m really excited to recreate this paint scheme for Darlington,” said Tiftt. “When I was little, my dad would bring home this car in the offseason and we’d tear it down together. That was where I first learned how to work on a race car.”

Tiftt began racing go-karts at 11 years of age. Since then, he moved his way up to stock cars and eventually was able to run his first full-time year in the ARCA Menards Series in 2014.

Capturing his first career top-five finish in both the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series and Xfinity Series in 2016, Tiftt has had to overcome serious health issues before making his way up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Doctors discovered later that year a brain tumor had formed; thankfully, after a successful operation, Tiftt climbed back in a race car 11 weeks later.

“My dad has been such a huge influence throughout my career, and I couldn’t have gotten to this point without him. I’m grateful for the opportunity to give him this kind of recognition and can’t wait to see his face when he sees the car in person for the first time” he said.

This weekend, Tiftt will make his first career Cup Series start at Darlington Speedway honoring two men who made in impact in his motorsports career.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY TO UNVEIL FIRST EVER INFIELD BEACH PARTY DURING FORD CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND


The Infield Beach Party Will Be the First of its Kind in Motorsports

South Florida is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Today, Homestead-Miami Speedway announced plans to bring the beach to the track with its first-ever Infield Beach Party during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 championship race on Sunday, November 17.

The Infield Beach Party, which is open to guests ages 18 and over, will take place on a 20,000 square-foot beach located in the Speedway’s infield, inside of Turn 3. The beach will sit on the spring-fed 7-acre lake that spans the width of the backstretch.

This will mark the second beach area at Homestead-Miami Speedway and the first to be accessible by the public during Ford Championship Weekend. The Infield Beach Party is the only ticketed beach area in motorsports, and is also the first of its kind across all sporting venues around the country.

The beach will be complete with a floating dock, palm trees and a swimming area. The Infield Beach Party is about more than just relaxing in the sand, as attendees will be treated to an exclusive experience that includes live entertainment, unique food and beverage options, beach and water activities, and much more.

“With this unique addition, fans will get a taste of a beautiful South Florida beach,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Al Garcia. “This innovation allows us to bring Miami’s culture to the Speedway, and we’re excited to be the first track to introduce this concept to the sport. As we look to enhance the experience of our guests, we will continue bringing creative and fun opportunities such as the Infield Beach Party to Homestead-Miami Speedway.”

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

GIVE BACK AT THE TRACK




On Saturday, August 17, more than 300 cars completed approximately 3,000 laps during Homestead-Miami Speedway’s annual Give Back at the Track charity event. Car enthusiasts, racing fans, and casual drivers made charitable donations to the Speedway and were provided with the thrill of a lifetime – running laps around the same 1.5-mile oval that plays hosts to NASCAR’s championships. The event featured local car clubs who drove exotic and vintage cars such as classic Ford Mustangs, Dodge Vipers, and Volkswagens from the 1960s and ‘70s. 

Proceeds from the event benefited Homestead-Miami Speedway’s charitable outreach program, Driving for a Cause, which makes an impact on the community by raising funds to support education and youth development programs and initiatives in South Florida. This year, roughly $10,000 was raised for the program. In addition to driving the track, participants also donated non-perishable foods to South Florida’s local food bank, Farm Share.

We doubled last year's donations, which is truly incredible. We love serving the community," said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Al Garcia. “We had such a great turnout in August and we are excited for September's Give Back at the Track charity event!”

Homestead-Miami Speedway will be giving South Florida another opportunity to run laps around the track. The Speedway will host a second Give Back at the Track event on Saturday, September 21 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., giving the community another opportunity to feel the thrill of racing while contributing to philanthropic endeavors.

Monday, August 26, 2019

NASCAR XFINITY DRIVERS PREPARED FOR FORD CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND DURING LAST WEEKS TEST SESSIONS


As Homestead-Miami Speedway prepares for Ford Championship Weekend, some of NASCAR’s up and coming drivers visited the South Florida track to get ready for the playoffs.

NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) rookies Chase Briscoe and Noah Gragson traveled south to the 1.5-mile oval where each driver was able to gather valuable racing information that they can utilize for the Ford EcoBoost 300 on November 16.

For Briscoe, who is locked into the NXS playoffs with a win at Iowa Speedway earlier this year, the testing session was important as he prepares for a championship run knowing that he has found success at Homestead-Miami Speedway previously.

“I feel like if we can get to Homestead, we’ll have a really good shot,” said Briscoe. “This is one of my favorite racetracks. It’s where I got my first NASCAR win. I always love coming here so hopefully we can surprise them again.”

Briscoe’s teammate Cole Custer also came to South Florida for the test session. Custer, who is one of the title favorites this year with a series-high five wins, was not able to participate in the testing, but he went to the Speedway to learn as much as he could by spectating Briscoe during the two-day test session.

“This is the championship race,” Custer said. “You have to be prepared and on you’re A-game so I wanted to come down here and see what they were doing for changes, look at some of his data and get back in the mindset of the track.”

As Custer and Briscoe are preparing for a title run, JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson sits 7th in the NXS points standings and is comfortably ahead of the playoff cutoff line. Gragson hopes the test session will give him an advantage over his competitors when they come back to Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.

“Testing here this week is definitely going to help me have a foot forward on those other guys,” Gragson said of the two-day test. “Obviously they’re all really good racecar drivers in the playoffs, but just getting repetition and laps up against the top and being able to put it in my notebook for when we come back here for the championship is going to be very valuable.”